BGMI Ban Lifted, Set to Return to India
BGMI game formerly known as PUBG had been the most popular mobile title in India and was quick to gain immense popularity among Indian game lovers after its release in 2017. The engaging gameplay and realistic graphics of this multi-player battle royal title can be attributed to the craze to be the last surviving soldier standing among gamers. BGMI became a social phenomenon, with players forming communities, participating in tournaments, and even live-streaming their gameplay on platforms like YouTube.
However, BGMI got temporarily banned by the Indian government concerning data privacy and addictive gameplay. The ban led to a significant outcry from the Indian gaming community, reflecting the game's enormous popularity and impact on the country's gaming landscape.
Here are the key pointers about the title PUBG and its publisher Krafton:
KRAFTON’s BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI) surpassed 100 million registered users in July 2022. The game was one of the biggest revenue-generating Android apps in the country until its suspension.
The game clocked about $33 million in in-app spending from July 2021 to July 2022, according to the estimates app intelligence firm Sensor Tower
BGMI made history by becoming the first Esports event to be broadcasted on mainstream television (Star Sports) attracting 24 million concurrent viewers and a total of 200 million viewers.
Apart from the publisher's official tournaments, plenty of Indian esports organisations were also organising multiple BGMI tournaments with massive prize pools. The game is a major revenue source for esports organisations, teams, live streamers, esports players, and gaming content creators in India.
In this regards, Sean Hyunil Sohn, CEO, KRAFTON, Inc. India, says “We are highly grateful to the Indian authorities for allowing us to resume operations of BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI). We would like to extend our gratitude to our Indian gaming community for their support and patience over the past few months. We are excited to announce that BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA will be available for download soon and we cannot wait to welcome you back to our platform. We believe in the power of gaming to bring people together and create unforgettable experiences. We are committed to delivering exceptional products and services to our users in India and beyond, and we look forward to continuing our journey with you.”
He further adds, “At KRAFTON, Inc., we are deeply committed to the Indian gaming ecosystem. Our approach has always been India-first, which serves as the foundation of all our efforts. We believe in investing in the Indian gaming industry and contributing to building a vibrant ecosystem that fosters growth and innovation. To achieve our mission, we aim to augment technology developments in India by collaborating with local developers and promoting the use of cutting-edge technologies. We also recognize the importance of providing skilling and employment opportunities for Indian talent, which can help them nurture their skillset and thrive in the industry.”
Throwing the light upon the significance, Vibhor Kukreti, Head of Government Affairs, KRAFTON, Inc. India says, "We would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the authorities for permitting us to restart the operations of BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI). KRAFTON, Inc. is a responsible South Korean organization that abides by the law and has put in place several measures to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations. We work tirelessly to ensure that India takes the lead in this domain by embracing innovative practices in collaboration with the gaming ecosystem to support, sustain and promote its growth.”
“We strongly encourage our users to prioritize their well-being and follow responsible gaming practices. We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for our players and believe that by promoting responsible gaming, we can contribute to a healthier gaming culture, where players can enjoy themselves while still taking care of their overall well-being. We want to thank all our fans for their unwavering support, and we want them to know that we are fully committed to bringing BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA back to them soon. Their continued support means a lot to us, and we promise to keep working hard to ensure that they have the best possible gaming experience,” Vibhor concluded.
Considering the fact that BGMI is a mobile-centric game, as per the latest data provided by the Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and the Internet, India is currently a hub for over 430 M mobile gamers, and the number is estimated to increase to 650 M by 2025. According to the India Games Market Report 2022 of Niko Partner, India has 98.8% mobile game players and hence is a mobile-first market, responsible for 85% of total market revenue. In India, Data costs are the lowest in the world.
In regard to this significant news, here is how esports industry stakeholders reacted:
Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO, Skyesports commented, "I welcome Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) return to India and extend congratulations to Krafton for accomplishing this feat. The game was an integral part of our Esports roadmap before and while we have diversified to other titles, we look forward to integrating India's favorite battle royale title to our IPs like the Skyesports League, Skyesports Championship, and more in the near future. The return of the game comes at a great time and will ensure a growth of India's gaming and esports industry."
"We had already heard rumblings of the game's return and had thus already begun strengthening our battle royale roster with the addition of Sensei and MJ. For us at Revenant, we look forward to using the game to strengthen our newly launched content IPs and expanding them further to include BGMI. Fans can expect to see a lot of exciting content from us soon. I congratulate Krafton on managing to bring the game back and look forward to their Esports plans for the game. The game's return will definitely be a huge boost to the entire Esports industry and reopen revenue streams for all stakeholders,” said Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO, Revenant Esports.
Animesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, 8Bit Creatives said, “The weekend fever has never been higher for all of us at 8Bit Creatives. The game represents so much for the gaming community, and we are thankful to the team at Krafton, Indian Govt. Officials & everyone else who has been working relentlessly to make this possible. This is sure to infuse new energy into the Indian Gaming Industry, and I am sure the whole industry is going to join forces to make it bigger than ever before. We are looking forward to accelerating this journey, with renewed vigour. We are most thankful to the players, and audiences, who showed great resilience during this period and continued to support the gamers. Hopefully, all the patience will be well rewarded and all of us get to work hard, and party harder as we take Indian gaming to newer heights. Personally, for me, I want to take a moment to feel that it's happening, before going back to grind, and making more interesting things happen in the industry!”
Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) stated, “The long-awaited return of BGMI after a 10-month hiatus is a much-needed boost for the Esports community in our country. We express our gratitude to the government of India for bringing back the game for the nation's passionate gaming audience and promoting the Esports ecosystem through this development. While the game is set to undergo certain changes to ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience for users upon its comeback on a trial period, it is encouraging to see the government bringing these safety measures for the youth of the country. With Esports getting official recognition from the government and the community adapting well to the absence of BGMI by expanding other titles, we eagerly anticipate the exponential growth that the sector will experience now that the game is back in the picture.”
Rohit Agarwal, Founder & Director, Alpha Zegus said, “BGMIs return is definitely big news for the entire industry, and everyone is thrilled about the good old days coming back. There has been a dry spell in the mobile competitive scenario for a while now, and this announcement is definitely making many stakeholders happy. Tournaments of all scales can restart, and players/content creators who have been on pause can resume. However, we need to be very cautious and responsible towards the rules set by the government. We’ve had the misfortune of the game going the previous 2 times, but if we all approach this carefully, it’ll be here to stay, and here to win!”
Sagar Nair, Co-Founder & CEO, Qlan, “The news that was eagerly awaited by the Indian esports community has finally been broken! It is great to see that the patience and perseverance on Krafton’s part to ensure that India’s most loved esports title returns in accordance with the Meity guidelines has paid off. Gamers have long waited for this moment and their happiness will be seen and heard loud and clear in the coming days. With the Indian authorities sure to keep a close eye on the game during the issued 3-month trial, it will have to uphold the guidelines that are demanded. On a macro level, this could potentially set the tone for future esports titles being released in India. Hoping for a long and continued stay for BMGI with no further complications, as the community rejoices and gets back to the grind.”
Nauman Mulla, Co-Founder and COO, STAN added, "We are thrilled to witness the resurgence of BGMI in India, poised to bring about a remarkable surge in the gaming industry. The dedicated fans of BGMI have been eagerly anticipating this news for quite some time. STAN, with its unwavering commitment, will be doubling down its efforts towards BGMI and is excited to bring in new features for the fans. With utmost confidence, we anticipate BGMI to successfully navigate through the three-month trial period, fostering a secure and wholesome gaming culture for its passionate fanbase."